Roger Kirk was trained at ABC television. He started out as a stagehand and floor manager in the Sydney studios, then took off for London, where he worked in the West End for three years doing props. Returning to Australia, he joined ABC's design department, cutting his teeth as a designer on a host of extremely popular variety shows, which is where he first got his reputation as a master of glam. One of the choreographers he was working with at ABC told him about a production of Chicago that Richard Wherrett was to direct for the Sydney Theatre Company. Kirk met Wherrett and landed the job of costume designer, his first mainstream theatre assignment.
Kirk first worked with Australian director Gale Edwards on a production of The Magic Flute for the Victoria State Opera (now merged with Opera Australia). On the strength of that, she asked him to design sets and costumes for her 1992 Australian production of Aspects of Love. Andrew Lloyd Webber liked it so much that he took the production to England on a tour and then onto the West End in 1994. So began an extremely fruitful working relationship with Edwards, and, through her, Webber. In 1997, Kirk worked with Edwards and English set designer Peter J. Davison on Puccini's Manon Lescaut for Opera Australia. The same team would go on to collaborate on The Boy From Oz, Whistle Down the Wind, and Superstar. Kirk also designed sets and costumes for Don Pasquale, Iolanthe, Die Hochzeit des Figaro, West Side Story, Die Czárdásfürstin and HMS Pinafore. Kirk's first collabaration with Graeme Murphy dates back to 1984, when he created the sets and costumes for Meander at The Australian Ballet (on music by Jean Sibelius).